In Person: Antigua Leather 13″ Messenger

Kickstarter kerfuffle.  A design detail is changed after payment.
Antigua Leather 13″ Messenger – $129.00 (special Kickstarter price)

Remember Antigua Leather?  They were a kickstarter project that caught fire back in August.  Their goal was to raise $7,500, and instead they raised $68,000.  And just like that, they were on the hook to produce 900% of what $7,500 worth of bags and iPhone/iPad cases would have generated.  Murphy’s law appeared to take over, and they missed their shipment goal of the end of August by a mile.  Some got pissed and vented on their comments page.  Others cut them some slack since they probably got crushed by the response.  But the goods have finally started showing up.

This was the first reaction when the Antigua Leather 13″ messenger bag was pulled out of the box:

What’s with the enormous buckles?

There’s a “Mom goes country-line dancing” vibe here.

Hightailed it back to their kickstarter page, and sure enough… the buckles have changed.  The original design all over their site has slim, subtle, roller-style buckles.  But the bag that arrived has thick,  brushed but still extremely noticeable standard buckles that have some curves to them.

Changing the hardware after the purchase?  That’s like changing the headlights on a car after someone signs the paperwork.  This right here appears to be a bit of a mess.

Flap up.  Main exterior pouch has room for a mouse & charger

It looks like back on August 30th they posted an update that made mention of and showed the changes:

…at our own cost we have elected to make some hardware improvements to the bag.  We have added stronger, higher quality buckles and put a durable liner into the interior.  We believe this makes for a more professional, fashionable, higher quality bag overall.

That last sentence?  Well, some are going to disagree.  And it’s going to come as a surprise to those of us who stopped reading the updates after the first couple since it became obvious that they were getting buried by the response (shades of Flint and Tinder).  That, and the comments were getting annoying.

Side pouches are nice.  Should hold most slim (not blackberry) smart phones.

Here are a few things that most reasonable people will probably believe:

  • These guys aren’t scam artists and have good intentions.
  • The overwhelming support was just that.  Overwhelming.  It hurt them.
  • The pressure put on them by backers in the comments probably didn’t help matters.  There was a lot of armchair bag production consultants piling on.

Bottom line is this:  It’s no Saddleback, but for $130 it seems well made, the stitching is solid, and the rawness of it is really appealing.  It’s certainly stiff to start, but over time it’ll probably pick up some good character.

But these buckles.  No thanks.

Live and learn.  And the lesson here for those who don’t like the buckles will be to skip future Kickstarter projects.  Usually the creator is showcasing a prototype, and if there’s any sort of changes that happen, you might end up a big-buckle creek. 

Thoughts from you guys?  Is the buckle switch really that big of a deal?  Leave it all in the comments…